Today, The Ferrett's review of our vodka infusions to date concludes with the cinnamon and apple vodkas, followed by the celebrated and dreaded Pop Rocks vodka. For those just joining us, you can read Part One and Part Two.
"I bet the Cinnamon and Apple would go well together," Karla says brightly, even though we have yet to taste the apple. "I bet you could shoot that straight into cider."
"An excellent way to spike your cider," Jen agrees.
Once again, the scent off the cap catapults us straight back into childhood, but this time it's all about the breakfast foods. "Apple Jacks," Gini proclaims, and indeed it does have the sugary-cinnamon tang of a freshly-opened Kelloggs box. "Apple Oatmeal," says Karla, and she too is correct.
Whatever its exact placement, it's really quite intense; Karla catches the smell from the other side of the table within seconds after we open the bottle. It's far stronger than the coffee, and this is an angry ruby color.
We drink it, and thump our glasses to the table.
"THE WINNER!" I scrawl in my notes, and everyone around is shocked by how goddamned good it is. Some of the other vodkae were solidly good, and others needed some help, but this is the first drink we're actually sad to see go.
"Where can we get more of this?" Gini cries. "I don't want this to be gone!"
It's a total spice heaven - rich and lush, the cinnamon seems to have blossomed into several different kinds of spices in the vodka, blooming into a constantly-mutating palette of flavors that never seems to get dull. I take another sip, and it tastes different - it's got the autumn bite of mulled cider, but the hot burn of vodka enhances it in some way, and fuck, I don't want to think about this, I just want to drink it...
"Oh my God!" Jen cries. "You don't have any cider, do you?"
"Forget it," Gini says, clutching her drink to her chest. "We're keeping this one."
"I wanna know how much a bottle is," Gini says.
"I would totally pay for that," Karla says. "And I don't pay for a lot of alcohol." (She gets it at parties, folks. No worries.)
We agree wholeheartedly that this is just good on its own... And it's viciously deadly. "You could sip at this stuff until you just fell over and your heart stopped," Gini says.
"But die happy," Karla smiles.
We sigh in agreement. It'd be worth it.
WE ARE ALL DRUNK NOW.
"Happy," clarifies Karla. "We have reached that borderline where you can either stop and tip back into sober, or stop and tip back into...."
"Tipsy?" Gini says. And she has to offer the word, because we have been knocking down shots of vodka for the past forty minutes, and it is starting to get to us. It's true, we're not drunk, but to call us "sober" would also be a misnomer.
The Apple Vodka smells like apples. There's no hint of vodka - it's a pure, clean scent, as if someone had just sliced an apple open with a sharp knife and held the glistening flesh up just under your nose. It is astoundingly clear, somehow more apply than apples.
A brief debate breaks out over what kind of apple it is. Macintosh, perhaps? Not Granny Smith, that's too tart. We throw about five or six different types of apples, a little amazed that we can actually smell it so clearly that distinguishing this is possible... But it's a soft, sweet apple that has completely replaced the vodka smell. It's not a cider smell, but it has a slight baked apple twist, as if you'd just heated an apple in the microwave.
(As it turns out, it is Granny Smith, meaning that the tartness has mellowed quite beautifully in the alcohol. Well done, fellows!)
The sipping shows that this is the most dangerous brew of them all.
I could not tell that this is alcoholic. There's a tartness there, but it's like a very light cider, beautiful and high at the tip of your tongue that fades gently to a shimmer of apple that resonates around your entire mouth. You could drink a whole glass of this and never know that it contained a drop of alcohol up until your brain stopped working.
"How much is this?" Karla asks. She's so excited by the glory of this drink that she almost leaps out of her seat - but as I said, we're all a little sloshed by now. But not so sloshed that we do not recognize quality. "I wanna buy it right now!"
"They don't sell their vodka," I inform them. "They just do experiments."
"They don't sell them?!" Jen cries, looking like someone just squashed her puppy. "How dare they! We'll run out! How can we not have this?" At which point I spend the next few minutes defending the Infusions laboratory techs, explaining that selling their vodka hasn't been the point until now.
They are not happy. They want more of this. And Gini - remember I told you that she was smart? - decides to combine the apple and cinnamon.
"This smells like strudel filling," Karla says. "This is heaven in a plastic cup. This - is dangerous."
It's like drinking pie - glorious, liquid pie. Everyone stands around, shell-shocked by the perfect beauty that has just exploded wetly across their throat as they down the apple and cinnamon vodka.
"I could take the two bottles and pour them together and just drink that all night," Karla says seriously. "And I would make sure that I kept the glass upright so that when you fell over you would not lose this at all."
The yummy noises are in surround sound, rivaling our THX-certified sound system. We are all purring with happiness. I'd normally find it arousing, three girls purring at me, but I have a drink that's better than porn. I tell them this.
"If you know Ferrett, that says something," Karla says, awestruck. And then more debates break out over why are they not selling this stuff?
Pop Rocks Vodka
Okay. After the Apple Vodka and the Cinnamon Vodka, we weren't expecting much. This was the joke vodka, the one that they did because, well, you're not supposed to do Pop Rocks Vodka.
The point was not that it tasted good or bad. The point was that we were drinking fucking Pop Rocks Vodka. This was something we would be able to lord over our friends for years to come.
"I went to the moon," Neil Armstrong would say, taking a bite out of a chip. "Flew there, walked on the surface of an alien rock, and flew back."
"Yeah?" we'd say belligerently. "Well, I had Pop Rocks Vodka." And Neil fucking Armstrong would lean back and demand to know how it tasted.
So how good did it taste? Does it matter?
Oh, all right.
It was a more chemical Tang, like the orange and strawberry flavors, but more so. We could smell the artificial sweetener coming off of the rim.
"Okay," Karla says. "So - I work for a chemical company? And I have visited quite a few of our plants. And one of our plants that we divested early in 2006 made perfumes. And I smelled this when I was there to do a physical count. This smells like Kalama."
"Kalama" is the city in Washington where the perfume is made. Karla does not sound particularly happy about this, but she's willing to drink it because hey. Pop Rocks Vodka.
"You can't be too harsh on this," Karla commands me as I lift the glass to my lips, "Because they made this just for you."
I wince. Sorry, guys. I gotta call it like I see it.
But as I down it, I discover that... Well, it's actually not bad. It's like the strawberry, but the sugar in it boosts the strawberry flavoring, ironically diluting the strawberry while raising the burn of the vodka. It lacks the complexity of the strawberry infusion, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because what it loses in depth it gains in simple pleasure. It asks less of you, which given our current state isn't a bad thing.
We decide that our friend Kat would love it. It's a silly drink that requires an umbrella.
But then I recall the one fatal thing about Pop Rocks - the thing that killed poor Mikey. As we all know from other children on the playground, to combine Pop Rocks and soda is to ensure a certain death. The Pop Rocks and the soda will combine in your stomach to cause your whole body to explode, like giving Alka Seltzer to a seagull...
...But what about Pop Rocks Vodka and Soda?
I had to try. It might be fatal, but I am on the cutting edge of drinking technology. I am willing to give my life to the cause.
Note the clever way the camera skews to the side here to indicate the severe danger I am in! I pour the liquid, waiting for signs of my impending doom as my very shirt mocks the predicament I have placed myself in...
AND I DRINK!
As it turns out, Pop Rocks Vodka and Soda? Not fatal. But strangely delicious, like a Cherry Coke with a kick. Quite a nice ending to quite a nice day.
With that, we go off to the couch to collapse, happy and satiated. For we have had the glory that is Apple Vodka, and we have had Pop Rocks fucking Vodka, and we have combined the Apple and Cinnamon to get a little liquid taste of heaven.
Now we just have to find more of it.
Mad Scienticians' note: We are shocked, shocked that The Ferrett and his associates would suggest that we use our experiments for financial gain. We began Infusions of Grandeur to further the scientific feild of alconomics, not to become sellouts. Or maybe it's just because North Carolina blue laws won't allow us to sell our vodkas.
We are nearly as surprised that our apple vodka was reviewed so favorably. We find that the taste is a bit off, like apples that have been sliced and then exposed to the air too long (which, in fact, they were during the infusion). We've been meaning to repeat the experiment now that we have better controls in place, but we're quite pleased that The Ferrett and his fellow tasters found so much pleasure in the first batch.